Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

It is Never Right to be Angry at God. Ever.

I know that this is a controversial statement, but it is actually pretty cut and clear. I also think it is very important to understand this before the going gets tough. Otherwise, it is exponentially harder to grasp.

Nine Parenting Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks

As a father of 4 young children I am always looking for parenting help. This was a straightforward article that I think has several pieces of gold for those who have children, or may have them in the future. I have personally found many of these things to be true.

Consider Church Membership

The title really says it all. Joe Thorn gives you some good reasons that Christians should be members of a local church.

Dating is an Issue for the Whole Church

The gospel should change the way Christians date. Therefore we should know how to think Biblically about dating. Our culture has been overly sexualized and most single people, ages 12-100, can’t imagine not dating the way the our culture presents it. Saying something like, “Don’t date until you are old enough to marry.” makes many in our culture bristle, and if you haven’t thought it through it will make it even harder to stand.

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

 

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

The Two Kinds of Conversation You Need To Have With Your Children

As a father of 4 children I am always on the lookout for helpful parenting advise. This article doesn’t dig into the content of the conversations you should have with your children, but rather the way in which you should have those conversations.

Preaching to Ourselves

“You have to preach to yourself because the world is broken, the devil is scheming, your heart is corrupt, and you need the gospel.” If you have never heard of Joe Thorn, you should really check him out. If you have heard of Joe Thorn, you know this article will be good!

Note to Self

If you liked the article above, you should check out this book written by Joe Thorn. I read it a few years back and it was a great devotional that helps you think through how to preach the gospel to yourself.

The Worst Consequence of Skipping Church

The worst consequence of skipping church is probably not what you initially think. Our western culture tends to think as an individual first, and not as a community. However, the Church is a community – a body. And bodies cannot function correctly without all the parts.

Keep Looking

Lastly, I really enjoyed this short video by Desiring God. It is about the benefit of continuing to read the Bible. I hope it encourages you to dive deeply into God’s word.

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

The Gospel According to EnChroma

I have a good friend who has a pair of EnChroma sunglasses. He has told me that wearing them can be overwhelming at times. The author here reminders me that my experience of the new heavens and new earth will be much the same, but even more so. Here is a bit of the article:

And here’s the truly amazing hope. What if the world we see right now in all its blazing colour is but a pale, anaemic, washed out version of the world that is coming? What if the resurrection of Jesus is the multi-coloured firstfruits of a world so saturated in colour that on that final day we will just stand there for the first few million years of eternity, gazing at the never-setting Son and just go “Wow!”?

Walking in the Spirit

This is a fantastic talk by Sinclair Ferguson about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as our Divine Helper. I think the time on this recording is about 26 minutes, but well worth it. Why not listen to it on your drive to and from work today?

The Hottest Thing at Church Is Not Your Pastor or Worship Leader

This was an encouraging article to me. However, it should not be surprising to those who read their Bible.  “For wthe word of God is living and xactive, ysharper than any ztwo-edgedsword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, andadiscerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And bno creature is hidden fromhis sight, but all are cnaked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Heb. 4:12-13

Glorifying God with infertility

For anyone who has struggled with the pain of infertility, I hope that this article is encouraging. And for anyone who has never struggled with the pain of infertility, I hope this article is eye-opening.

You Can’t Love Missions without Loving the Local Church

This is why I think church planting is the best missional strategy of all time. We need those who love the local church, to be sent out by the local church, to create new local churches, and repeat! Here is a bit of the article:

Service in global missions and service to the local church aren’t opposed to each other—or at least they shouldn’t be. And yet, we’ve often taught by example, if not explicitly, that a love for the local church looks like staying where you are for a long time. Imagine what could happen if your church started sending overseas those members who love and serve the church best. Imagine what could happen if your members grew in seeing missions as integrated into their lives as church members, whether they stay or go.

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

Today’s attack in Egypt is the latest strike in the war on Christians in the Middle East

I am consistently amazed at how few people know about the reality of Christian persecution in the world. The attacks in Egypt on Palm Sunday cause us to remember our brothers and sisters who endure this kind of animosity everyday, and to pray that our Lord might draw people to himself through the suffering. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

The Key to Happiness Is More Stuff . . . Right?

In my experience we all know that more stuff doesn’t lead to happiness, but our actions often betray what we profess to be truth. I’m not sure anyone would say, out loud, that more stuff will make them happy, but we sure live like it will.

Dads, Be Tender With Your Children

For a Dad that tends to be too loud, too opinionated, and too quick to bring correction into a discussion, this article hit me between the eyes. “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

BreakPoint: Planet Earth II Missing the Maker in the Majesty

This article reminded me this week, that people can look at the most fantastic parts of God’s creation and miss him completely. Which then caused me to remember that I look at those same things and often live as though I also have missed him that day.

Church Planting Math: Addition Vs. Multiplication

It is all well and good to talk about being a church plant that plants churches, but the reality of that work can be scary. This is a great article by my friend Brian Bowman about why it is worth it.

Why I Believe the Bible

As the author states, this is a quick reference guide to help communicate to others, and reminder yourself, why you believe the Bible. I think it is an important issue to think through deeply.

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

A conversation, not a recitation

This is a good article about gospel fluency in our daily conversations. For many reason we all need to learn the outline of the gospel, but then that information must make it’s way into everyday conversation. “Evangelism is communication, not recitation.”

Building Blocks of Salvation pt 2: The Path

Building Blocks of Salvation Pt 3: The Purpose & The Promise

Here are parts 2 and 3 of Clint Archer’s series on salvation. If your looking for part 1 because you missed it. I posted it a few weeks ago, or just click here.

J. I. Packer on One of the Most Urgent Needs in the Church Today

This is an article posted on Crossway as a recommendation for their new book “The New City Catechism”. It has many quotes by J.I. Packer about the need for Catechesis in the church. I have looked in on this practice a few times for my children, but now I find myself think of how we might incorporate this into our church. I think it may hold many benefits.

‘One Anothers’ I Can’t Find in the New Testament

Here is flavor on this short article by Ray Ortland Jr.

“Therefore, when we mistreat one another, our problem is not a lack of surface niceness but a lack of gospel depth. What we need is not only better manners but, far more, true faith.”

 

My post is a bit shorter this week, but hope you find some help here.

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

Why Christians Should Read History

Last week I put an article about reading biographies in the mix. This week it is much the same with reading history. However, I think a better title might be, “Why Everyone Should Read History, Especially Christians”! Scott Slayton does a great job explaining why reading history is so beneficial.

4 Ways the Gospel Transforms Work

I’m not sure I have ever read or listen to anything by Tim Keller and walked away thinking, “That was unhelpful!”. The same goes for this talk given at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Here are the 4 ways, as he explains, how the gospel transforms work:

  1. Christian faith gives you a new identity, without which work can sink you.
  2. Christian faith gives you a new concept of the dignity of all work, without which work can bore you.
  3. Christian faith gives you a moral compass, without which work can corrupt you.
  4. Christian faith gives you a new worldview, without which work will be your master instead of your servant.

David Platt’s Guide to Navigating Unprecedented Social Change

Looking for someone to fire you up about the gospel in the midst of tough cultural change? David Platt is your guy! This is a great interview with him about the re-release of his book “Counter Culture”. It’s about 30 minutes long. I found it encouraging.

How Obedience Sets Us Free . . . Or Not

One of my favorite formats to learn from is listening to a discussion between several people educated on the subject. It brings some much nuance to the issue being discussed. This is a panel discussion between Tim Keller, John Piper, Jonathan Leeman, Mike McKinley, Tom Schreiner, and Hunter Powell on the subject of Christian freedom.

Why a risk-ready mindset is essential for growing churches

This is the kind of article that gets my heart pumping! Let me give you a paragraph for flavor:

So God’s sovereignty allows us to be opportunistic and entrepreneurial. In his parable of the talents, or bags of gold (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus likens himself to a master who entrusts resources to his servants while he’s away. When he returns, he commends two servants with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”, because they made the most of what they’d been given. The third servant is condemned because he just protected what he had. He didn’t take any risk in trying to do something creative with the master’s resources.

Jesus was warning that many will be horrified to discover that attempting nothing for Jesus reveals that they were never his true disciples—because genuine disciples care so much for their Master’s gospel business that they will accept unavoidable risks to advance it. Real disciples don’t live too safely, because they love their Master enough to have a go.

We Can’t Microwave People into Maturity

Patience is a virtue! A virtue that few posses. Especially in our western culture where we are taught “If it works, it’s right!”. Christians aren’t called to such pragmatism, but rather we are called to persevere. Faithfully doing what is right regardless of what seems to work. Don’t get me wrong, what God designs always works. It’s just not on our time table.

I Had Been My Whole Life a Bell

The blog “Sayable” is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Not because of its practicality or deep intellectual theology, though it has some of that, but because it feels so much like reading real life! Like a clean mirror reflecting a dirty wall. It makes “sayable” much of the things we all experience. This article is actually a book recommendation on a book called “Struck” by Russ Ramsey (which I have not read). The excerpt she gives from the book is well worth a few minutes. Here is a flavor:

Lamentation is a part of worship. It is that part of us that cries out over the sorrow of the suffering, pain, and relational brokenness by which we have all been hurt. I lament to the Lord that over these past two years I have been the bruised reed he has promised not to break. I am the smoldering wick he has promised not to extinguish. I am the brokenhearted whose wounds need binding. God gave me this body with all of its physical limits, and then he broke me. He is at the same time my Healer and the one who has permitted my affliction.

The deeper I venture into this affliction, the more questions I have. But I remember C. S. Lewis who said, “When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘no answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though he shook his head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’”

   It makes me want to pick up a copy soon!

Why Do You Want to Be a Christian

A great question to ask yourself on a regular basis. Our hearts are so wicked and sick we cannot understand our own motivations often. And because of this we smuggle our idols into the church with us.

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

 

 

 

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

Read Missionary Biographies

Biography is one of my favorite genres in literature. So when I saw this title I had to take a look. Beyond the Bible there are few things that speak so powerfully about the need for missions as the biographies of those who rolled up their sleeves and put their hands to the plow.

Building Blocks of Salvation Pt 1: The Plan

I believe that gospel fluency is a skill that every Christian should pursue. Both for the health of their own soul, and for the communication of that good news to others. To that end, I am following a series I came across this week on the building blocks of salvation. This week’s article is about election, and though you may not agree with this article, I think this series will be worth following.

Why the church doesn’t need anymore coffee bars

A powerful article that you may have come across on social media last week.  I don’t think the main point here is bashing the bells and whistles that accompany some church gatherings, but rather a hard reminder that those things are not the point. If we are attracting people to our churches (and keeping them) with trendy gimmicks, we could be failing to give them the only thing that matters. JESUS!

Suburban Sprawl and the Dying Dream of Community Churches

Articles like this are especially interesting to church planters like myself. I think that the research and conclusions reached in this article are mostly true when it comes to American churches and church attenders. However, one must always consider the context. For instance, in the area of Tulsa I serve in 60% of residents don’t own a car, so commuting is much more difficult. That being said, we should consider that the reach of our church is broader in our city that it may have been in decades past.

Should We Give Money to the Poor Even When There’s a Risk of Waste or Misuse?

I think the title of this article is pretty self-explanatory. We should be wise, and extremely generous people!

Good Churchmanship

An older article on a subject that isn’t spoken about much these days. What does it look like to be a good church member? I think this subject deserves more attention from members and leaders in the local church.

Complaining Never Wins the Culture

This article probably wins “best article of the week” in my book. Here is an excerpt to give you the flavor: “Furthermore, grumblers are neither persuasive nor appealing when they share their faith. In fact, they rarely share their faith at all. It’s hard to joyfully and consistently proclaim the gospel when all you do is complain about your mission field. Murmuring does not further God’s mission.”

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

 

 

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

Gospel Motivations for Gospel Ministry

It is good to regularly check your motivations for the ministry(s) you lead or support. We are prone to wander if we don’t check in regularly.

The Eternal Glory of the Daily Grind

This quote is a great example of what you will find in this article: “Rather than being hell, such Christ-enabled labor makes visible a bit of the divine glory that is normally seen only in heaven. Instead of being futile and fleeting, in Christ’s hands, everyone’s daily job actually produces everlasting results.”

Hobbies to the Glory of God

This older article from Tim Challies takes a look at the role of hobbies in our lives, and why they can be done for the glory of God. I think it is a subject that should be discussed more often, and practiced with regularity.

What Christianity in China is Really Like

Often the perception and reality of missions or church in another part of the world are two different things. I have often been confused by different accounts of Christianity in China. I found this article helpful.

Unbelievable

This week I wanted to highlight another podcast that is a regular part of my week. Unbelievable is a debate podcast where Christians and Non-Christians engage in health debate. I love hearing both sides of each debate. It is a great way to learn about other cultures and worldviews. I highly recommend it!

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

Don’t Go Until you’re Sent

Let me just say a huge, AMEN!, to this article! I have lived this to a certain extent and would beg my brothers and sisters in Christ to NEVER send yourself to do a new work (frontier missions, church planting, ect.). It is not biblical, increases the suffering, and wrecks individuals, families, and communities. I know that sounds dramatic, but as a man who was once very prideful about such things I am telling you, “Have a healthy church send you into the work!”

Three Lies We Might Easily Believe

READ THIS!!!! Seriously, if you have 1 minute and 23 seconds to spare you should read this super short article (1 minute and 22 second long). We are all tempted daily to believe the lies of our enemy Satan. Which means we must daily preach the gospel to ourselves and be reminded of who we are in Christ.

The End, As Best As We Can See It With Earth Encrusted Eyes

I’ve been exploring some new blog here lately and I ran across this blog and article. I don’t know the full story here, but I love this article. It feels wounded to me. Like someone who knows where I have been, and in the midst of it reminds me of the goodness of God. Makes me feel like less of an alien when that happens.

Gospel Worship: Holy Ambition for All the Peoples to Praise Christ

A grandview of the glory of God in missions as only John Piper can say it. This one is also super accessible. You can watch it, listen to it, or read it! DesiringGod.org, what a gift to the church!

How the Gospel Upsets Business as Usual

I actually listened to this week before last, but was having trouble finding the link since I was using iTunes. I can be a bit of a technology noob sometimes! Anyway…This is a great workshop talk on how the church (individually and corporately) should expect the gospel to change the way we live in our communities. I will warn you it is a bit long (55 mins), but do like I do and break it up. In a few 15 minute drives, walks, or sittings you can receive some great, hopefully life giving/changing, knowledge.

Ask Pastor John

Speaking of DesiringGod.org, have you hear of the podcast “Ask Pastor John”? If you have not let me encourage you to give it a try. Each episode is fairly short (usually under 10 mins). It is easy to listen to and can answer questions that you might have or perhaps cause you to think on subjects you have not yet considered. It is a mainstay of my personal study every week.

As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven

Steven’s Study

Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.

Every week I will be bringing you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.

The Many and the Few

An older article that I ran across on challies.com last week. It’s a great reminder of the importance of gospel clarity, and how we are prone to stray.

How to Defend the Gospel from Its Enemies – and Friends

Another great article by Ray Ortlund. It ends with a great observation, “Ugliness can’t defend beauty.”

How to Live in the Tension of Gospel and Social Justice

There have been many discussions about the tension between the message of the gospel and the acts of mercy that accompany the gospel. If you have the time (~45 min) this a great message by Matt Carter about that subject.

Be Patient, Missions Is Urgent

You may have heard that gospel ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. That is true! However, it is very urgent also. So how do these two fit together?

Then and Now: How our Perspectives Have Changed throughout our First Term

Always good to read about the lives of foreign missionaries. Especially when it can open our eyes to the reality of a life spent spreading the gospel. Since that is our goal!